DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution (American Music Series) (Hardcover)

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Description


DJ Screw, a.k.a. Robert Earl Davis Jr., changed rap and hip-hop forever. In the 1990s, in a spare room of his Houston home, he developed a revolutionary mixing technique known as chopped and screwed. Spinning two copies of a record, Screw would “chop” in new rhythms, bring in local rappers to freestyle over the tracks, and slow the recording down on tape. Soon Houstonians were lining up to buy his cassettes—he could sell thousands in a single day. Fans drove around town blasting his music, a sound that came to define the city’s burgeoning and innovative rap culture. June 27 has become an unofficial city holiday, inspired by a legendary mix Screw made on that date.

Lance Scott Walker has interviewed nearly everyone who knew Screw, from childhood friends to collaborators to aficionados who evangelized Screw’s tapes—millions of which made their way around the globe—as well as the New York rap moguls who honored him. Walker brings these voices together with captivating details of Screw’s craft and his world. More than the story of one man, DJ Screw is a history of the Houston scene as it came of age, full of vibrant moments and characters. But none can top Screw himself, a pioneer whose mystique has only grown in the two decades since his death.

About the Author


Lance Scott Walker is originally from Texas and is now based in New York. He is the author of Houston Rap Tapes and collaborated on the companion photo book Houston Rap. He has written for the Houston Chronicle, Houston Press, Red Bull Music Academy, Vice, Wondering Sound, Fader, and The Wire.

Praise For…


Weaving flashes of his own voice into an oral history featuring over 130 of Screw’s friends, family, heroes, students, and more, Walker stitches together a full picture of the iconic DJ’s legacy.
— Mankaprr Conteh

In this sensational oral history, hip-hop historian Walker (Houston Rap Tapes) offers a riveting look at why 'DJ Screw is the stuff of Texas legend'...Though [DJ Screw's] life was cut short, Walker’s meticulous account underscores the enduring legacy of the rapper’s pioneering music and his awe-inspiring ability to capture 'the sound of the streets.' This engrossing work will fascinate fans.
— Publishers Weekly

An ambitious love letter to one of Houston’s beloved mixtape kings...An insightful portrait sure to engage DJ Screw’s longtime fans and newcomers alike.
— Kirkus, Starred Review

[A] fascinating oral history chronicling the life of DJ Screw...Walker’s years of research and personal expertise about Houston’s music scene will help cement Screw’s legacy as an innovator who still inspires.
— Library Journal

The 'chopped and screwed' sound has become such a staple of hip-hop that most fans probably don’t even wonder where the slowed-down, stop-start sonic approach came from—and thus, the late DJ Screw, a.k.a. Houston native Robert Earl Davis Jr., is one of the truly unsung heroes of the genre...he's finally receiving his due in the form of DJ Screw: A Life in Slow Revolution.
— Jem Aswad

The sort of history from below that Walker pursues [in DJ Screw], organised around dialogues with Screw's family and friends, and framed by some light touch narration, seems appropriate. This is the story, after all, of a folk hero who rarely left his hometown...and who resided outside the circuits of official culture...As a written form, oral history suits the circumstantial nature of Screw's artistic development too...It's a form that also serves here to dispel some enduring myths, especially the oft repeated function of Screw's sound to a function of intoxication.
— Paul Rekret
Product Details
ISBN: 9781477325131
ISBN-10: 1477325131
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Pages: 312
Language: English
Series: American Music Series